First there was darkness, and then there was light. And then we figured out how to make that light dance.
Frank Chimero

overlair is an informal research lab borne out of the notion that computers are magic. Run by John Knowles, it is focused on creative digital tools and multi-media applications, and intent on finding simple, powerful and accessible ways to work with text, graphics and sounds.

If computers are the wave of the future, displays are the surfboard.
Ted Nelson

The magic of computers comes not only from what we can do, but also from what we can see. Computers allow us to visually engage with information and media for purposes of creation, communication, learning, analysis, entertainment and more.

The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures.
Jock D. Mackinlay and Stuart Card

Computers are the medium for these magical worlds. More than lit screens, we get meaningful representations and artifacts, assemblages of text, graphics, sounds and links, useful for making sense of our world and communicating it to others.

The interface is the visible 'tangible' surface of media, the nexus point or gateway between man and media, i.e. the world.
Volker Grassmuck

Like pen and paper, computers (and their interfaces) faciliate the process of externalizing our internalizations, making them real and interactable. Through the shaping of these forms, into representations (media) and artifacts (documents), we gain conceptual appendages, from to-dos to tomes.

The mechanisms of human thought and communication have been engineered for millions of years, and we should respect them as being of sound will save time if we make our computer models compatible with the mind, rather that the other way around.
Dan Ingalls Pike

overlair serves as the surface on which I am examinging digital systems, particularly systems for the purpose of thinking and communicating. In these, it is important to engage how we think, what we think with, and the history and evolution of these methodologies and tools.

Systems research cannot be just science; there must be engineering, design, and art.
Rob Pike

In "Pikean" fashion, overlair seeks to compose together science, engineering, design and art into research and product development. This site is meant to serve as a record of the learning in each of these aspects, as well as a home for the various projects and experiments.